Burial Rights

  • July 27, 2010

    Some 57 years after legendary Native American athlete Jim Thorpe died, his son is contesting the site of his father's burial.

    Jack Thorpe, 72, waited until his father's widow, Patricia, and his three half-sisters died before filing suit against a Pennsylvania town bearing his father's name for return of his body, The New York Times reports.

    Patricia, Jim Thorpe's third wife, had made a deal with two neighboring Pennsylvania towns that they merge into one, name the town Jim Thorpe and maintain a memorial to Jim, according to The New York Times.

    Jack Thorpe is now suing Jim Thorpe, Pa. under a federal law intended to give Native American artifacts back to their tribal homelands, according to the Associated Press.

    "The bones of my father do not make or break your town," Jack Thorpe told the Associated Press."I resent using my father as a tourist attraction."

    Thorpe told The Times that he's not trying to change the name of the town, but only to have his father's remains returned. No trial date has been set inĀ federal district courtĀ in Scranton, Pa., and representatives for the town said they are unsure how they will proceed.